The study titled, Healthy People 2010, analyses categories including air quality and access to health care. The findings show the Valley needs a lot of improvement.
The Central Valley Healthy Policy Institute has been tracking 8 counties in the Valley for the past 10 years. The latest report shows little to no improvement in areas such as the Valley's air quality and access to health care.
On Monday health experts gathered to share their concerns about the Valley. Fresno State professor, Dr. John Capitman said, "The way all this plays out is that on average people don't live as long in our region as in the rest of the country." Dr. Capitman is one of the experts behind the study. He says the area needs work especially in women's' access to prenatal care. "Very large numbers of people are uninsured so when they get pregnant they don't have a relationship with the health care system."
Marlene Bengiamin is one of the report's lead authors. She says about a quarter of pregnant women locally do not get regular checkups during their pregnancies. "If you don't monitor the mom's health during her pregnancy you don't know what's happening to the baby or the mom so there is the danger of pre-term birth, fetal death and low birth weight," said Bengiamin.
But it's the Valley's poor air quality that's earned the area a failing grade. Fresno County Health Director, Dr. Edward Moreno said, "The air quality has been shown to have an impact on lung function and in particular it can exacerbate asthma among people who have asthma".